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State emergency services prepare for second round of winter storms

Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 11:38 PM EST
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LOUISA, Va. (WWBT) - The Commonwealth has barely finished thawing out from the season’s first winter storm, and already state emergency services are preparing for the second round of winter weather in less than a week.

This upcoming winter storm isn’t expected to drop quite as much snow and ice, but that didn’t keep Governor Ralph Northam from declaring a state of emergency.

“We just really want to be prepared. We want to have great communication between our Department of Emergency Management, our VDOT folks, and state police, and again, just make sure that everyone stays safe,” Northam said. “That’s our number one priority and making sure we can keep roads open.”

Most of the area’s major roadways have already been coated with salt, and VDOT says it has its fleet on stand-by before, during, and after the snowfalls.

“We’ve got over 1,400 pieces of equipment ready for the snow season this year in the Richmond District, and we’re ready to give it all we’ve got,” VDOT spokesperson Bethanie Glover said.

The areas to the northern and western parts of the state, including Spotsylvania and Louisa counties, will likely be hardest hit, with up to four inches of snow expected to fall. The greater Richmond area is expected to see mostly rain. By 11 p.m. Thursday, the second round of snow began falling.

The Department of Emergency Management is warning people not to underestimate mother nature and stay off the roads if possible.

Louisa County has been in a local state of emergency since Monday and is expecting Thursday’s storm to worsen power outages and road conditions.

Louisa resident Fred Miller was filling up the air in his tires just before the snow began to fall. Miller says he’s been without power all week and that the shopping complex just off exit 136 on I-64 is one of the only areas in Louisa that still has power, thanks to backup generators. Despite this, Miller says it’s been challenging to stock up on supplies.

“I haven’t had a chance to get supplies, really,” Miller said. “Every time I try to go, the stores are packed; that they are about sold out of everything. Bread, milk, you name it.”

The temperature Thursday night is expected to be much colder than earlier in the week, so the snow won’t just stick faster; it will also stick around longer.

“The temperatures are going to get cold overnight, so it’s important to remember that any wet pavement with temperatures this cold could turn to black ice,” Glover said.

Glover says the extra saturation from Thursday’s snowfall, in addition to the snow seen earlier this week, will increase the risk of trees snapping and powerlines coming down.

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